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Learn Everything You Need to Know About Nanday Parakeets

Birdwatching is a fascinating activity that allows us to enjoy the beauty of nature’s beloved creatures. One of the most captivating birds that can be spotted across Central and South America is the Nanday Parakeet, also known as Aratinga nenday.

These active, noisy birds are a delightful sight to behold with their vibrant plumage and lively personalities. This article will provide bird enthusiasts with an in-depth guide on how to identify, distinguish, and appreciate the unique features of the Nanday Parakeet.


Field Identification

The Nanday Parakeet is a medium-sized bird that measures around 11 – 13 inches in length and has a wingspan of 19 – 20 inches. They have a distinctive blue-grey plumage on their head, neck and upper breast, which contrasts sharply with their bright green body.

Their wings are a deep blue with black feather tips, and their tail feathers are long and tapered in shape. These tail feathers are also edged with blue, giving them a stunning “flash” effect when in flight or excited.

They have dark brown eyes and a strong, black, hooked beak. The Nanday Parakeet’s feet are zygodactyl, meaning they have two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward, which enables them to grasp and hold onto branches firmly.

Similar Species

The Nanday Parakeet may resemble other parakeets in the Aratinga genus. The Blue-Crowned Conure, for instance, has a similar head and dark feathers on its wings.

However, the Blue-Crowned Conure has a bright blue crown and white rings around the eyes, which distinguishes it from the Nanday Parakeet’s blue-grey head. In contrast, the Mitred Parakeet has a red forehead and crown, making it notably different from the Nanday Parakeet.



The Nanday Parakeet has two molting phases, one in the spring and another in the fall. During these molting phases, they will undergo a complete change of feathers, and it’s not uncommon for them to be without feathers during this time.

The feathers on their heads, necks, and upper breast will turn a yellow-green colour. The feathers on their wings and tails will remain the same.

The Nanday Parakeet is sexually monomorphic, which means that both males and females have the same appearance.


In summary, the Nanday Parakeet is a beautiful and captivating bird species that can be easily identified with its distinctive blue-grey plumage on its head, neck, and upper breast, bright green body with a deep-blue wing, black tipped feathers, and stunning blue-edged tail feathers. They undergo two molting phases each year, and their plumage changes accordingly.

Spending time observing these delightful birds in their natural habitat is a rewarding experience, whether it’s in the wild or in captivity. With this guide, novice and experienced birdwatchers can appreciate the unique features of the Nanday Parakeet, distinguishing it from other parakeets in the Aratinga genus.

of facts, as the article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the

Systematics History of the Nanday Parakeet.

Systematics History

The Nanday Parakeet, also known as Aratinga nenday, has a long and complex systematics history. Initially described in 1833 by Johann Baptist von Spix, a German explorer, it was first classified as Psittacus nenday and later moved to the Aratinga genus.

Over the years, the bird has undergone several taxonomic revisions since changes to the classification of parrots were made.

Geographic Variation

The Nanday Parakeet is native to South America, where it is found from eastern Bolivia, through Paraguay, Argentina, southern Brazil, and into Uruguay. This species is known for its unique vocalizations and social behavior.

These birds are known to flock in large numbers and have been observed to form mixed flocks with other parrot species such as the Blue-crowned Conure and Monk Parakeet.


The Nanday Parakeet has several accepted subspecies, including Aratinga nenday jandaya and Aratinga nenday nenday. Aratinga nenday jandaya, the Jandaya Parakeet, is often considered a separate species but is sometimes treated as a subspecies of the Nanday Parakeet.

It is typically found in northeastern Brazil and has a more extensive yellow patch on its face and a more significant overall yellow coloration than the Nanday Parakeet. Aratinga nenday nenday, the nominate subspecies, is the most widespread form of the Nanday Parakeet, found from Bolivia through southern Brazil and into Uruguay.

It exhibits the typical grey-blue head and vibrant green body of the species.

Related Species

The Nanday parakeet belongs to the subfamily Arinae, which includes other genera such as Amazona and Pionus. Several of the Aratinga parakeet species are closely related to the Nanday Parakeet, including the sun parakeet, Jenday parakeet, and golden-capped parakeet.

These birds share similar distinguishing features such as bright plumage, a hooked beak, and social behavior.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The distribution of the Nanday Parakeet has undergone significant changes over the past few centuries. The bird’s natural range was restricted to South America, but it has been introduced to many countries worldwide, including the United States and Europe, as a result of pet trade and accidental escapes.

This bird is now present in several U.S. states, including Florida, Texas, and California and has been observed in parts of Europe such as Germany, Italy, and Spain. The Nanday Parakeet’s introduced status in some regions has caused concern among conservationists since their presence can have a negative impact on ecosystem balance.

They may compete with native bird species for resources or disturb agricultural fields, causing damage to crops. In some areas, such as Florida, the Nanday Parakeet has become problematic due to their aggressive behavior, causing conflict with other bird species.


In summary, the Nanday Parakeet has undergone several taxonomic revisions due to changes in classification for parrots. The bird has several accepted subspecies, including the Jandaya Parakeet and the nominate subspecies.

The Nanday Parakeet is related to other Aratinga species and is known for its distinctive vocalizations and social behavior. The Nanday Parakeet’s natural range is restricted to South America, but it has undergone significant changes in distribution due to human impact, including accidental introductions to new regions.

Their introduced status in some areas can have negative impacts on ecosystem balance, leading to concerns among conservationists and biologists. of facts, as the article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the habitat, movements and migration of the Nanday Parakeet.


The Nanday Parakeet is a bird species that is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions across South America. They can be found in different habitats, including forest edges, savannas, and wetlands.

These birds are adapted to living in woodlands, open savannas, and riverbanks with nearby forests, where they can find suitable nesting and roosting sites. Additionally, the Nanday Parakeet is well-adapted to urban areas and is often found around human settlements and parks where they are attracted to the food and nesting opportunities.

They have a generalist feeding strategy, which makes them adaptable to different habitats and causes them to visit dispersed sites within the same area.

Movements and Migration

The Nanday Parakeet is known to be a resident species, meaning that they are typically non-migratory and remain in the same geographic area throughout the year. Although they have been observed to make local movements, these movements are not related to seasonal changes but rather to food availability and nesting sites.

During the breeding season, which usually occurs between September and March, they can be found in pairs or small groups and can defend their nesting territories aggressively. Once the breeding season is over, flocks of Nanday Parakeets can be seen moving around in search of food.

During the non-breeding season, they can be seen in large flocks of between 20-30 individuals, with sightings of up to 100 birds not being uncommon. These large, noisy flocks of Nanday Parakeets are often visible in urban areas, where they make use of streetlights or other structures for roosting at night.

Although the Nanday Parakeet is generally non-migratory, there have been reports of some birds making long-distance movements in response to droughts or forest deterioration. These movements typically occur at the end of the winter breeding season as the birds disperse to find suitable foraging grounds as food dwindles in their breeding sites.

Migration is not a common behavior for the Nanday Parakeet, but they have been known to undertake seasonal elevational movements depending on the availability of food resources. These movements are mainly observed in regions where there are significant differences in altitude and climate, such as the Andean region.

Conservation Status

The Nanday Parakeet is classified as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This classification is an indication that the species has a healthy population size, and its occurrences are widespread.

However, degradation and loss of habitat due to logging, agriculture, and urbanization remain a significant threat to their survival. In some areas, they have also been hunted for their meat and feathers, which presents a threat to their survival.


In conclusion, the Nanday Parakeet is a resident bird species that is well adapted to life in tropical and subtropical regions across South America. They inhabit different habitats, including forest edges, savannas, and wetlands, and have a generalist feeding strategy, which makes them adaptable to different habitats.

While the Nanday Parakeet is generally non-migratory, long-distance movements may be undertaken in response to environmental pressures such as droughts. Despite being classified as a species of “Least Concern,” they are threatened by habitat loss and hunting in certain regions.

Conservation efforts and habitat restoration programs are essential for ensuring the continued survival and well-being of the Nanday Parakeet. of facts, as the article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the Nanday Parakeet’s

Diet and Foraging, as well as their Sounds and Vocal Behavior.

Diet and Foraging


The Nanday Parakeet feeds mainly on fruits, seeds, nuts, and flowers, and has a generalist feeding strategy that makes it well adapted to different habitats. Their beaks are powerful and hooked, a characteristic that enables them to crack open hard nuts and seeds with ease.

They also have strong muscles in their tongues that aid in manipulating food. The Nanday Parakeet can forage alone, in pairs, or in flocks depending on the resources available.


The Nanday Parakeet’s diet largely consists of a variety of fruits and seeds which are determined by availability and season. They have a particular preference for seeds of the acacia tree, along with other trees and plants that produce large seeds.

They are known to forage in orchards and fields, causing damage to crops such as maize and sunflower, which could bring them into conflict with farmers. However, their feeding habits are also beneficial to the ecosystem as they act as seed dispersers, eating fruit and seeds and depositing the undigested seeds in different locations as they move.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Nanday Parakeet is an endothermic organism, meaning it is capable of regulating its body temperature internally. This adaptation is essential for the bird’s survival in different environments with varying temperatures.

The Nanday Parakeet is also capable of slowing down its metabolism and lowering its body temperature during the night, allowing it to conserve energy and keep warm.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The Nanday Parakeet is renowned for its loud, raucous vocalizations that make it a distinctive addition to any kind of environment. They are known for their chatty and social nature, and the sounds they make have been described as rapid, harsh, and noisy.

Their calls are often shrill and high-pitched, consisting of a series of screeches and squawks.

The vocalizations of the Nanday Parakeet serve several purposes, including communication within the flock, warning against dangers, and attracting potential mates.

They have a distinct call for identifying their partners and for recognizing group members. Additionally, their vocalizations are used for social communication between individuals.

The Nanday Parakeet is capable of learning new sounds and can mimic human speech, although it is not as well-known for this talent as other parrot species. They communicate with other Nanday Parakeets using long distance calls in order to coordinate their movements.


In summary, the Nanday Parakeet is well adapted for foraging on a range of fruits and seeds, which makes up the bulk of its diet. The birds are endothermic, which means they can regulate their body temperature internally and have the ability to slow down their metabolism to conserve energy.

The Nanday Parakeet is famous for its loud and chaotic vocalizations, which serve a variety of purposes such as communication and identification. Their social nature and penchant for loud calls make them easily identifiable in the wild, and they are often kept as pets due to their vocal talents.

of facts, as the article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the Behavior,

Breeding, Demography, and Populations of the Nanday Parakeet.



The Nanday Parakeet is an active bird that uses different modes of locomotion to move around in its environment. They are skilled climbers and can easily climb trees and branches using their feet and beak.

When moving on the ground, they run with a hopping motion, which is characteristic of most parrots. In flight, they exhibit swift, direct, and powerful flight patterns, making them agile and highly manoeuvrable in the air.


To keep their plumage in pristine condition, the Nanday Parakeet demonstrates a system of continual self-maintenance. They preen their feathers by running their beaks over each feather, rearranging them into place.

Preening also helps in the distribution of natural oils through the feathers, which helps to maintain their water-resistant abilities and insulation. To keep their claws sharp, Nanday Parakeets also chew on branches and other hard objects that put pressure on their feet.

Agonistic Behavior

The Nanday Parakeet is a social species, and within flocks, aggressive behavior may arise from disputes over food resources or nesting sites. Aggressive behavior could include chasing other birds, attacking with the beak, or using the feet in an attempt to repel rivals.

Mock fights are also common, where birds will posture, make noise, and threaten each other to establish dominance. In general, however, they are not known for any particularly aggressive behavior, except when defending their young or breeding territory.

Sexual Behavior

The mating behavior of Nanday Parakeets is fascinating to observe. During the breeding season, pairs demonstrate a unique courtship display that involves head-bobbing, vocalizations, and wing-flapping.

Once a pair bond is formed, copulation takes place. The female will lay two to four eggs, which will hatch after 25 to 28 days of incubation.

The male and female split the duties of feeding and caring for the young until they are fledged.


Breeding in the Nanday Parakeet species typically occurs during the late winter season between September and March. They form monogamous pair-bonds, where both sexes share the incubation of eggs, guard the nest, and care for the young.

The incubation period lasts around 25 to 28 days, and the eggs hatch into chicks with no down or feathers. Once the chicks are hatched, both parents will feed them through a regurgitation process, which provides them with a nutrient-rich diet.

Nestlings can be seen poking their beaks into the parent’s throat to receive food. The chicks can fly within six to seven weeks of hatching but continue to rely on parental care for several weeks.

Demography and Populations

The Nanday Parakeet has an extensive natural range and is found throughout many parts of eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and southern Brazil, and into Uruguay. They also thrive in urban areas, especially in the southeastern United States, where they were introduced as pets and have established self-sustaining populations.

Overall, the Nanday Parakeet population numbers are healthy. However, habitat loss or degradation from destruction of their natural habitats, urbanization, and agricultural practices have caused local declines and regional extinctions.

Additionally, the pet trade has caused problems as hunters seek to capture the birds to sell them.


In conclusion, the Nanday Parakeet is a fascinating bird species that demonstrates unique behaviors and skills. They display a wide range of behaviors, including locomotion and self-maintenance as they adapt to different environments.


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